Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

A quick tour of the internet has suggested to me that there are two kinds of viewers of The Belko Experiment: fans of screenwriter James Gunn who are outraged by how badly the film mangles his sense of humor and what an unpleasantly nasty slog the whole thing is, and fans of director Greg McLean, […]

Alright, kiddies, it’s time for some box office numbers: 1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $936,662,22 (winter 2015-2016) 2. Avatar: $749,766,139 (winter 2009-2010) 3. Wolf Warrior II: $679,495,519 (as of 13 August, 2017) What we have there are the three largest single-territory grosses in the history of worldwide box office. The first two of those […]

Certainly, director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal had the finest intentions in making Detroit, which is too bad for them. Because the one specific thing that Detroit most badly wants to do is the one thing that Detroit most particularly fails to achieve – indeed, it achieves something close to the exact opposite. The […]

Headshot is not The Raid. There is, of course, no reason that Headshot should have been The Raid, but it still comes across as just a little bit disappointing. The five films preceding this in the career of martial artist Iko Uwais have come in two categories: starring roles for director Gareth Evans (2009’s Merantau, […]

In some world, Alien: Covenant has a different title. In that world, it is not a sequel to 2012’s Prometheus, and it is not a prequel to 1979’s Alien, but it’s simply a standalone sci-fi horror picture about a group of colonists who end up taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque and as a result […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: director Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword reminds us of the wide range of approaches that filmmakers […]

Macon Blair, once upon a time, starred in writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s 2013 indie thriller Blue Ruin, and this is surely what he’s still best known for. That’s not to cast an aspersions against Blair, who’s great in that movie, and it’s not to slight his directorial debut, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World […]

It is a little tempting to overvalue Logan for its novelty. And I do use “novelty” advisedly – it’s no less than the tenth movie in the broadly-construed X-Men movie franchise to come out in the last 17 years, and one of God knows how many superhero comic book adaptations during the same period. But […]

Best case scenario, I figured, was that John Wick: Chapter 2, would be in pretty much every way just as good as 2014’s John Wick – the best American action movie of the last decade and a half or more* – only without the jolt of novelty & thus not as enjoyable. Fairy tale, cloud […]

A review requested by Salim “STinG” Garami, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. I’ll freely admit that I can’t tell if Class of 1984 is a good movie or not. On the one hand, it’s unmixed, trashy exploitation, portraying a most overheated melodrama that plays on the audience’s […]

The opening credits of Nocturnal Animals feature several obese women, naked but for drum majorette hats, dancing in slow motion. Nothing that resembles this ever happens anywhere else in the whole movie. I can think of a few different explanations for why director Tom Ford would have seen fit to include this, none of which […]

In the most unyielding, prescriptivist sense, Hacksaw Ridge is not a film about a pacifist. The real-life character at its center, Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), firmly believes that it would be sinful to kill other human beings even in combat, but he has no particular complaint if the men surrounding him see fit to kill […]